Jesus told his disciples, “You will bear witness for me in Jerusalem, and all over Judea and Samaria, and away to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The ends of the earth. The preaching of the Gospel began in Jerusalem and within a generation, churches had been formed throughout the Roman Empire: throughout the Holy Land, across the northern coast of Africa, throughout what is now Turkey, over into Greece, certainly in Rome. Before long the Gospel had spread as far west as Spain and the British Isles. By the end of the first millennium it had covered all of Europe including Scandinavia.
In the sixteenth century as Europeans began to explore and make homes in the New World, the Gospel came to the eastern parts of North America. In the eighteenth century Franciscans under Father Junipero Serra established missions in Mexico and eventually moved northward into what is now the State of California. They built missions approximately one day’s journey apart, from San Diego up beyond San Francisco.
In the meantime, the Gospel had also moved eastward from Jerusalem. Armenia became the first officially Christian nation. Ancient traditions tell how the Gospel came into India. It moved into Russia and crossed the vast spread of that country. In the eighteenth century the Gospel came into Alaska and began to move down the western coast of North America.
About 1833, 1,800 years after the Day of Pentecost, not far from what is now Fort Bragg, California, Russian Orthodox missionaries coming south from Alaska met Franciscan missionaries coming north. The Gospel had circled the globe, and “the ends of the earth” turned out to be California.
“All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God” (Psalm 98:4b).